My mom and dad dropped me to airport. They were sad that I will be living in a faraway land and might also be disappointed. My mom wrote a very emotional letter to me to be read when she was away. I read it when I was on the airport. It said that the way I had behaved with them had disappointed them and made them sad. Also that I will repent for not eating properly and that I will understand the value of them and my mother-country. In a course of around four years in the United States, I have changed a lot mostly mentally and psychologically. When I watched the series “The Jungle Book” again after several years, I realized the importance of emotions and feelings and realized that I behaved very badly with my parents. I apologized to them and since them I am calling them regularly once in 15-20 days and talk as much as I can. However, I never missed India.
I have a paradoxical feeling of love and hatred towards India. I love India for having taught me emotions, feelings, helping nature, devotion (for the Gods you define), the way guests are treated (they are treated like Gods), simplicity to the core, non-materialistic attitude, teaching, and love. However, I hate India for its shitty government (government will definitely improve after at least 1000 years but right now it is shitty), crappy judiciary, fucked-up education system, low-class thinking of people, casteism, classism, racism, corruption, anti-(anti-corruption), rudeness, pollution, honking, spitting, hatred even towards nation builders, and what not. Still, I try to think of the solutions to the greatest problems of India such as fucked-up education, poverty, unemployment, healthcare, population explosion, pollution, corruption, casteism, classism, racism, sex discrimination, assault on women, and thousand others. I had thought that I will return to India only after completing my PhD, but fortunately or unfortunately I had to visit India to attend a conference called International Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Computing (IPDPS) in Hyderabad in May 2015. Unwillingly, as per my adviser’s opinion, I decided to visit my family and relatives too during this trip to India. I had been to India previously in Feb 2012 for my elder bro’s wedding and that I was visiting my mother-country after around 3.3 years.
My roommmate Chirag had graduated in Dec 2014 and my apartmentmate Franklin was about to graduate in May 2015. Chirag, along with his friend Ruchir, had come to Stony Brook to attend his graduation ceremony and Franklin too was attending the ceremony. We all went to the ceremony and as usual, there were some inspiring speeches. I was so happy seeing thousands of students graduate. The youngest graduate was 19 years old and the oldest was 91 years young. I still remember the statement one of the speakers said: “Go ahead and change the world”. Listening to the statement, an electric current passed through me. A part of me was eager to graduate and chase my dream: building the greatest educational company of India and another major part of me kept me grounded and said “Fucker, first focus on your PhD. Education is everything.” It was an amazing sight to see so many graduates smiling and sharing their happy moments with their family, friends, and their loved ones.
Franklin had to leave that afternoon to California to enjoy with his friends. After the ceremony I took a couple of pics of Franklin and thereafter he left. I had shared many wonderful moments with Franklin. We had been to the beaches, restaurants, had drink parties at home, and had made nice food including Fish fry. He is more of a cool and less talkative guy but humorous. I was a bit sad that he parted. After saying goodbye to Franklin, I attended Chirag’s department ceremony. Every single graduate from different departments were called on stage. After finishing that we had lunch at the University food court and started roaming around the campus to take pictures. It was a nice sunny day and along with Abhijit, we took several pictures. We (Chirag, Ruchir, Abhijit, and myself) sat at the steps near Math department and appreciated the beauty of college life and the quality of higher education in my father country, United States.
I had stayed in my apartment for around two years and I was bored with the place. I wanted to move to a new apartment but in the same area. Before leaving to India, I had to shift all my items to friends’ apartments so that when I return from India, I could move all items to my new apartment. I packed most of the stuff and Chirag helped me a lot in packing my kitchen items and removing the unwanted items. I shifted most of the items to my friends: Ayon’s and Prayag’s apartments. I was leaving to India the next day morning. We talked a bit that night and I slept. The next day morning Chirag helped me to carry my bags to the Stony Brook railway station and we talked a lot about our career goals and what we should become ten years from that date. Both of us wanted to delve deeply in business and we dreamed together. The train arrived on time and I had to leave. I said goodbye to Chirag.
Chirag is one of my favorite roommates. He is dynamic, has a lot of helping nature, genuinely caring, and fun loving guy. I was more reclusive before. Chirag injected in me the character of being more social. Chirag would be the first person to say yes to anything: dance, singing, games, drinks, beach, party, movie, marathon, hackathon, etc (except deep philosophical discussions :)). I enjoyed the most with him. Though I became a bit busy during the second half of 2014 due to working on several papers, but so far 2014 has been the best year and most memorable year of my PhD and most of the credit goes to don Chirag. I am extremely happy that I got such a roommate.
I just enjoyed the beautiful sceneries on the journey. After around 1 hr 45 minutes I reached John F. Kennedy airport. I waited there for sometime and boarded an airplane to Abu Dhabi, UAE. I always choose the window side seat and this time too I had a window side seat. It was around 14 hour journey to Abu Dhabi. Beside me was a young lad (Sorry. I forgot his name.) from Bangladesh but lived and was an undergrad in Maryland, I suppose. Beside him was a slightly fat lady named Anna. I introduced myself to them and got to know what they do. Anna was going to Nepal to help the victims of April 2014 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The Bangladeshi dude and myself became close and started discussing on a lot of topics. We were so involved in discussions in physics and cosmology that a girl in front asked us to lower our voice and Anna moved over to a nearby empty seat. Only two of us shared the three seats. We were so happy. I kept on giving information from whatever I had learned on algorithms, big bang theory, quantum entanglement, quantum mechanics, theory of evolution, God, religion, and so on. I tried my level best to make him repent for not having taking science as his major and I think I succeeded. We had awesome fun during conversations. During the flight, by using Rolle’s theorem (from Calculus) I also told him that we are definitely going to see sunrise at some place. The Bangladeshi guy and I learned that we love drinking. As we could have unlimited drinks of Vodka, Tequila, Wine, Whiskey, Rum, Beer, I had Vodka and Tequila a lot and he had I think Whiskey a lot. We both got slight high and we had so much fun walking everytime to get drinks or chatting. The total flight experience was amazing.
On May 24, 2015 in the evening I landed at the Hyderabad airport and headed to my hotel. The next five days we had the conference. Two days was workshop and three days were the paper presentations. I reached the Best Western Ashoka Hitec City hotel with a colleague at around 10 pm I suppose. The hotel was medium. The receptionist was rude. After spending some time in checking emails I slept off.
The next day, my colleague and I took an auto to the Novotel hotel where the conference was held which was around 4 kms from the hotel we stayed. It was a Monday. Monday and Friday there were workshops and Tuesday to Thursday there were paper presentations. Many sessions were held in parallel. I made sure I went to a session where I understood a lot more than the others. Whatever session I chose, I did not understand 99.99999% of what the speakers said or had worked on. The first thing is that I am a damn slow learner. I understand very very slowly but if given time I can discover the deep insights. As always, I found that around 99% of the researchers and scientists did not know how to speak or present and my faith in my educational company grew stronger and stronger. More than the presentations I concentrated on networking and I met tens of students from IISc, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIIT Hyderabad, and a few Professors. I learned that many students had come to the conference just to attend. Some were there for poster sessions / workshops. Very few were there for the actual paper presentations. The food was medium and the food service was fine. I would be too tired trying to understand the crap presentations and often I would sleep in the late afternoons on the sofa in the halls.
Two Chinese teams from Stony Brook could not attend the conference as they did not get their Indian (tourist) visas. I was pretty sad that many stupids can get Indian visas, hundreds of anti-social elements can get Indian visas but world researchers who aim to better the society through their inventions are not given visas for three days. I felt shame. If the Chinese researchers cannot present at the conference their papers will not be published. As a researcher / scientist, it was my duty to represent them. I agreed to present one of their papers and my colleague agreed to present another paper. Within three days I tried to read and understand their paper as much as possible and went through their presentation. On Tuesday, May 25, 2015, I presented their paper “Embedding nonblocking multicast virtual networks in fat-tree data centers”. It was ok. I had tried my level best to present but as I was not a subject matter expert and I had just three days to understand whatever they worked on for several months it was also one of my worst presentations ever. Still I was happy that I tried my best.
The other days went just fine. Now a few words about Hyderabad. The time I was there it was so so so so hot. It was around 36 degree Celcius and extremely humid. I wondered how people survived. Just a 30 minutes of walk in the outside and I would sweat like a pig. Also, there was a lot of public defecation. I could not understand one thing. Generally, Indians overestimate so much that if they are 2 out of 10 they claim they are 39 out of 10. Regarding the progress, everyone I talked to would say India has developed a lot in three years. I could not see a thing of development. I totally agree that prices have gone up orders of magnitude fold. The swimming pools in the roads are still the same, the rudeness of the people are still the same, throwing waste and spitting is still the same, I do not understand why many Indians say as if India is already over-developed. Most Indians I have met in my life overestimate things. Somehow I believe in below-ordinary promising and extra-ordinary delivery. Anyway, summary is that I did not see any development. But, I am happy that I met a few very nice people, mainly autorickshaw people.
In Hyderabad, I met the director of Supercomputer Education and Research Center (SERC) department, Govindarajan R and asked him for the permission to present Autogen: an algorithm we had developed to automatically discover other algorithms at Indian Institute of Science (IISc). He agreed to it and asked me to email him at the end of the first week of June. Every day after returning from the conference, I worked on my presentation I had to give at IISc to make it my best presentation. I spent several days on creating the presentation slides and it turned out to be nice.
I moved to Bengaluru on May 30, 2015 at around 10 am. My parents picked me up from the airport and I reached home at around 12 am I suppose. They had constructed a new home and had their house warming ceremony in Mar, 2012. But, as I had not been to India for around 3.3 years, I was seeing their new home for the first time and it was beautiful. My father had spent significant amount of time in planning and thinking on the new house and it looked beautiful and wonderful. I liked their new home a lot. My parents seemed happy to see me. The next one or two days was a pure waste as I did not have anything to do. I did not meet most friends as I had decided that I will spend my time with family and relatives only. I did not talk much with my parents as somehow my vibration does not match with them. I spent more time on creating my presentation.
Probably on the last day of May, I met my best and closest friend. We talked for like 10 hours from morning till late evening. We talked (in fact, I spoke more) on several different topics including life, politics, business, education system, arts, United States, etc. I experienced heavenly bliss meeting my friend. My entire India trip was worth for this single day. I found a reason to live at least for that particular day.
I went to Sapna Book Store on June 4, I guess. I am a hardcore fan of education, knowledge, learning, and books. After spending several hours searching for nice books, I got around 10 books on different topics:
- What every Indian should know before investing – Vinod Pottayil
- The 100 absolutely unbreakable laws of business success – Brian Tracy
- Getting rich your own way – Brian Tracy
- The 10 day MBA – Steven Silbiger
- Choose the life you want – the mindful way to happiness – Tal Ben-Shahar
- Criminal manual (Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code, Indian evidence act) – M R Mallick
- World’s great short stories
- Famous ancient stories
- Applications of derivatives made easy
From Avenue road, which is famous for selling second-hand books, I got the following book as the original book was a bit expensive.
– Rich dad poor dad – Robert Kiyosaki
I was so happy that day that I got so many books to read. I love books. They are one of the most beautiful things on Earth.
Some day in the first week of June, my parents had planned to visit Kaalahasthi in Andhra Pradesh so that I could do Raahu-Ketu pooja to remove obstacles. A funny thing happened that day. We all went to Kaalahasthi in my father’s car with a hired driver. It was at a distance of some 255 km from Bengaluru and it would take 4-6 hours depending on traffic. We left at 10 am I guess. There was a Raahu-Ketu pooja there. The name Kaalahasthi comes from Kaala – meaning snake and Hasthi – meaning elephant. I think two snakes had attacked an elephant and the elephant was struggling to come out of the tight grasp of the snakes. Raahu and Ketu had taken the form of snakes to attach the elephant. When elephant prayed to the lord, Lord Shiva came to rescue the elephant. Hence the name Kaalahasthi and there is a belief that people who have obstacles from Raahu and Ketu go there and perform a pooja and obstacles will be removed.
In the rush, my father got the tickets for the pooja somehow. As a science person I hated being there and I did not like doing pooja and all. Anyway, we went to pooja inside the temple and one could see hundreds of families ready to perform Raahu-Ketu pooja to remove obstacles from the mother-fuckers Raahu and Ketu. I felt ashamed of what would Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein would think of me doing those kinds of pooja being a mini scientist myself. Anyway, somehow it started. We were given two metallic snakes (Raahu and Ketu) on rice. We had to put a flower / kunkum on top of those loops when they chant mantras / namaha. Initially it was too difficult for me to follow the pooja as my mind just did not accept doing that. Then I thought something nice. I had read a lot about law of attraction and its powers. So, I thought I could use it all in just believing that the pooja works and asking whatever I want. As I knew that law of attraction would work I was sure that I would get whatever I ask for when I ask with 100% concentration. Whenever the priest said ‘namaha’ after chanting something I had to put a flower / kunkum on the snakes. I simply muted their audio and chanted “let good things happen to my dreamgirl” in mind and put flower / kunkum for around 95% of the times for more than 30 minutes. The feeling was so awesome. I enjoyed it to the core. I was so deeply involved in thinking that I am pretty sure that it would work because of my law of attraction. After the pooja, it rained heavily and my parents and myself were wet. May be it is the effect of my extraordinary concentration power. We all came back at night. My parents were so happy that the pooja went well and that my obstacles will be removed. I was extremely happy too but for a different reason. :)
My parents had decided to have another pooja at home called Gana homa. Gana homa is a Hindu ritual performed to remove obstacles or problems and for prosperity. In recent times it takes minimum three / four hours of chanting mantras. Several relatives had come to our home and it was a nice gathering. Again, as per the law of attraction throughout the time I was involved I just chanted “let good things happen to everyone”. At around 1:30 pm the homa ended and my parents had called for catering. The food was so awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I met a few of my relatives and I was happy meeting them all.
The next day, I was about to leave to my native places to meet a few relatives. I have more than 150 or 200 relatives I suppose. Ours is a titanic-sized family and every year we contribute around 1.875% of India’s population. Ha ha.. :)
On the night of June 7th, I left Bengaluru to Siddapur of North Canara district in the state of Karnataka. From Siddapur I had to go to Hemagaar village. I reached Siddapur at around 6 am. There, I have a paternal uncle Shivanand Hegde. I went to his house and slept for a while. At around 11 am or so, my another paternal uncle Diwaakar Hegde, whom I called kaaka (to refer to father’s younger brother), called me and said that he would pick me up and we both directly can go to Hemagaar. On his motorbike, we went to his plot that was 2 kms from Siddapur. It was I think a 4 acre plot where he was growing areca nut. Areca nut, or betel nut, is the crop that is generally grown in North Canara. Many of my uncles grow areca nut for their living. The plot was so nice with tall trees of areca. It was amazing to see so many trees. As I spend almost 1/6th of my childhood life in villages seeing these trees, I have a special bonding to areca nut plantations. It gives me immense joy that I cannot describe in words. I can keep walking non-stop on the areca plantation land where there will be dry grass, leaves, coconut branches, etc that act as solid fertilizers. Kaaka was constructing a new house there. It was slowly progressing. He talked to the plantation workers for quite some time and then explained to me about the pump that is used to irrigate the land. I took a scan of the land then we left from there at around 2 pm.
Hemagaar was my grandmother’s place and it was where my father was brought up. My paternal uncle Diwaakar Hegde, whom I called kaaka, and his wife Kalaa, whom I called chikkamma (to refer to father’s younger brother’s wife) and their cute lovely kids: Sampada (my darling sister studying in 7th standard) and Sampath (my cute brother studying in 3rd standard), and my grandmother Bhuvaneshwari lived there. Hemagaar was around 20-24 kms from Siddapur. My kaaka and myself started our journey to Hemagaar on his motorbike. There was almost noone in the entire road. The entire road was ours. As my kaaka is a great rider, our motorbike went smoothly but in a controlled fast manner. After around 5-7 minutes from the start of the journey it started to rain. Not heavy rains, just drizzle. The infinite shades green grass, leaves, and trees turned greener from the rain drops as if someone increased the contrast of the entire scenery. It looked damn amazing. I love to see the greenery. Trees and grass give me unfathomable joy. Getting wet very slowly in the rains, moving fast on the motorbike, and seeing greenery on all 360 degree from where I was one of the best experiences of my life. I was so filled with gratefulness for that life and experience that hot tears rolled down my eyes. The thoughts of villages, trees, fresh air, rains, relatives, emotions, agriculture, happiness, non-materialism, simplicity, and so on filled my mind and there I decided that I will change India. The already-present feeling of me to revolutionize education in India strengthened in me and I promised India in my mind that I will change the lives of millions for all good.
We reached Hemagaar and we had our lunch. I was so happy to meet chikkamma and ajji (grandmother). The kiddos were at the school. They were planning to create an plastic roof for some of the natural fertilizers (made from dead leaves and sticks) to avoid them from getting wet because of rains. It started to rain heavily. I made several paans (paan: a few slices of areca nut wrapped in a betel leaf along with calcium hydroxide and some tobacco) and started eating one by one. The tobacco gave a slight kick and I felt dizziness. Whenever I visit villages I eat a lot of paans. After a while the kiddos returned from their school, which was just around 250 meters from our home. I was so happy seeing them and they were so happy in seeing me. Once we completed creating the roof, I went to my darling sister and brother and played carrom with them. I played with them almost the entire evening and at night I gave them some of the story books that once-upon-a-time my elder brother and I had used ourselves when we were kids. They seemed so happy seeing them. The day ended slowly.
The next day the sweeties were out to school again. Chikkamma said that we could visit the village school in the afternoon. I took some videos of the house and a few pictures too. I talked and played with the cows. There was a calf too that was only two months old I suppose. I fell in love with it. I love all calves. They are so cute. Somehow, I feel more connected and I feel more love towards puppies and calves than human kids. May be because I had spent considerable amount of time in my childhood with puppies and calves. We still use firewood to heat water to take bath. I love villages more than cities, because of the greenery, simplicity, non-materialism, fresh air, and so on. I enjoyed my time there. It was already afternoon and chikkamma took me to the village school.
Initially we went to anganawadi (kindergarten) where LKG and UKG students study. I met a young teacher there. Her name was Kavita. She had just completed her Bachelor in Arts degree and had decided that he has to become a teacher and teach kids. She was a nice singer as well. She knew several folk songs and she had learned all those by herself and not under any teacher. She had also participated in several competitions and won prizes. She would teach interested students singing and dancing. There only around 12 kids in anganawadi. But, only five were present that day because of rains. They also showed me the way mid-day meals work. Mid-day meals is a scheme by the Indian government to provide nutritious meals to poor students, to attract them to attend schools. I was impressed by the solid government initiative that was planned well. Kavita and the cook showed me several documents that said that each meal should contain adequate amount of nutrients and everything is planned well. The only problem was corruption. Because of severe corruption at the higher levels, sometimes it does not reach properly. But, I think corruption was not a problem in Hemagaar. The problem was with storage. They said that they do not have proper storage and because of which the grains and food get eaten by rats or sometimes because of insects. Kavita sang one or two nice songs and my chikkamma too sang a song. My chikkamma is a very nice singer. I recorded either two or three songs. I have so much deep respect for teachers that again I got tears in my eyes thinking how hard the good teachers work to create a solid foundation for the new generations. I touched her feet and left with my chikkamma to the main Hemagaar school.
The main school had five classrooms for 1-7 standard students I think. Once classroom had 1-3 standard students and each of the other four classrooms were for 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th standard students I believe. The total number of students in the school was 32. Initially I went to the 7th standard class, where my one-and-only darling sister Sampada was there. The two teachers there: Venkatesh and a lady teacher, chikkamma, and myself talked about the present education system. We discussed on how value-based education system can be created and how much power it has in creating a great personality. It was amazing to talk to them and getting to how how dedicated they are in teaching. I got the confidence that the children there have got a few amazing teachers who can be of great inspiration. I talked to the teacher there about my idea of building an educational company that after around 30 years of its existence can give high level education to village students through Internet. Venkatesh was very happy listening to that idea. He said that it is a good idea but it has to come through the curriculum only to be implemented very strongly.
Then we moved to the classroom for 1-3 standard students, where my cute bro Sampath was studying. As I had 0 knowledge about government schools and government school education, the lady teacher there was very happy to teach me all that knowledge. She talked for around 1 hour and I kept listening. The great teacher explained to both my chikkamma and myself the entire syllabus of first standard textbooks, various assignments given to them, the way they are graded, the types of fun activities they have that fosters learning, so on. Hats off to that teacher. She was so much interested in telling us all the details of the government school education system without being tired or bored. She also asked the students to dance and sing the songs that were taught to them. I recorded their dances and also the teacher’s explanation of the syllabus and teaching style, assignment etc. I was so happy that I could not control myself, I touched her feet to take blessings.
While leaving the school, I met Venkatesh and touched his feet and hugged him. I could not control my happy tears for the teachers. One very strong feeling India has taught me is that great teachers are greater than Gods. For me the great teachers will remain greater than everyone, including parents and Gods (if they exist).
In the evening, my darling siblings came and we had a lot of fun. We played with the calves, rabbits, etc. I showed the entire family a few of the videos of America. Whenever possible I hugged my darling sister for more than two-three minutes as she was my only sister from my father side. The day slowly came to an end. Next day, we had planned to visit Chandragutti fort along with another family and a family friend who guided us. It is a hill which has a temple of Goddess Renuka. The fort was under the control of Kadambas of Banavasi between 300-400 AD. We went there on kaaka’s omni car. It was almost an hour drive I suppose. It is around 850 meters high. We had packed lunch to be eaten at the top of the hill. While climbing the hill you see a lot of stone steps. It took us several hours to climb the steps, walk through the rough big rocks, and then reach the Renuka temple. I think we reached there at around 11 am. Climbing ahead we saw several small caves, idols, and stone buildings. None of them were maintained by the Government. Then we walked ahead and the tip of the mountain is so far that it was afternoon may be 1:30 pm when we reached there. The sceneries are so awesome there. Full of greeneries. We can see the Western Ghats of India on top of the hill. I could see a few farm lands here and there. We had avalakki (a kind of Indian food) and some juice. We spent some time there and then again descended the hill. Climbing the hill was a lot easier than descending the hill. I don’t how my darling sister and brother managed to get down. It was an amazing trekking experience with my relatives.
We then visited the plantations of pineapple and rubber by a friend of kaaka. I learned a lot about how they are grown and what it takes to have such plantations. From a distance, it might seem that a person has a plantation. But, if you see the amount of work that is to be performed to maintain it, you will get you know how difficult the task is.
We reached home at almost night. The kiddos were tired and they slept early. I too packed my belongings and slept. The next day morning I got ready and took blessings from all of my relatives with a heavy heart and hot tears in my eyes as I had a close attachment with Hemagaar and the kids, Sampada was my favorite. Kaaka dropped me to the bus stop and I left when the bus came.
Sagar, Vaajgaar, and Golgodu
My next desination was Sudha’s (I call her as Sudhakka. She is my mother’s elder brother’s third daughter) home at Sagar. When the bus arrived near Sudhakka’s home, she was already rushing to welcome me. I felt so happy to see her. She is one of my closest relatives. I share with her almost everything and she shares with me almost everything. I stayed there for around 30 hours. The backyard there with lots of banana and coconut trees are awesome. Took several pictures of the flowers, leaves, and trees. There was also a mental dog there. When I went to the backyard it followed me. I was so happy that the dog was good. I was afraid that if there are snakes somewhere in the garden, it would be better if I am with a dog. A dog will fuck the snake. Hence, wherever I went I called the dog and it followed me with all its heart. I was so happy with the dog and touched its head as a token of my love. The fucking dog was about to bite me and in a microsecond I removed my hand. When I verified with Sudhakka, she told me that it is a mental dog and we should not touch it. It will bite. That came as a shocker to me. Then I decided that with high probability I will not visit her house again until the mental dog is there. In the evening, Sudhakka and I went to a stroll and talked about several things. Slowly, the day came to an end. The next day, I met Sudhakka’s son Manu. He had developed a good body and good communication skills too. I was happy seeing him.
In the afternoon, Manu and I left to Sagar. He was attending his send-off party and I had to leave to Vaajgaar to visit my mom’s sister’s house. Manu took me to Varadahalli (or Varadapura). It is a small hill consisting of an ashram of Sridhara Swami, who is a damn famous saint throughout North Canara. I am generally a non-believer in the powers of many monks or saints, but I believe in the good principles from any person / animal on Earth. I enjoyed the serene atmosphere at Varadapur. After about 10 minutes we returned to the bus stand and I left to Vaajgaar.
My mother’s sister Kusuma and her family lived at Vaajgaar. I reached there in the evening. My cousin Santosh had completed his first year of Computer Science engineering degree and was at home for the holidays. As it was already dark I could not go out anywhere. I just talked to my Kusuma chikkamma (aunt), Padmanabha chikkappa (uncle), and Santosh. Santosh was a humble and brilliant person. As I love students, I gave him a couple of suggestions about studies and life whenever possible. The next day I met another family of my relatives and talked to them too. Due to my limited time, I left Vaajgaar with Santosh and we started our journey to Golgodu.
Golgodu is my mother’s elder brother’s wife’s native. My mother had spent a considerable amount of time there. I had heard a lot about Golgodu but had never visited. Golgodu is famous for helping-nature and unconditional love. People there are so simple, humble, and have so great helping-nature. A couple of years ago, three or four of my relatives lived there to complete their education from 1st standard to 10th standard. Along with that, every day there would be three or four more guests for having afternoon meals there. In those years, several villages had very few schools that were located far away. Hence, students would stay in different places in their relatives’ or friends’ houses closer to schools. At that time, their expenditure was far greater than their income. Still they saw students and guests and almost everyone as Gods. There is no partiality between a 90 year old and a 9 year old. Everyone is treated equally with love. This was the first time I was visiting this heaven and I was so happy seeing them all.
When I visited, at least 10 people were present at Golgodu home. It was drizzling all along. Maheshanna took us to the areca nut plantations and explained both Santosh and me about the soil, lands, water, irrigation, crops, seasons, etc. He was so humble that he left all his work all day to talk to us. I was extremely grateful for his kindness. Maheshanna had worked a lot to get good yields for his 2.5 acre plantation. The Golgodu home was so large and cute. I decided that every time I visit my native places I will also plan to visit Golgodu for at least three or four days. Maheshanna’s second son, may be 4 years old, was dynamic and clever. We watched Yakshagaana with him. It was fun.
The next day we left to my maternal uncle’s house at Kyaadagikoppa.
Kyaadagikoppa, also called Parvati estate (after my mother’s mother Parvati) is a place where my family of my maternal uncle V. D. Bhat lives. It is around 15 kms from Sirsi, North Canara. I went there with Santosh. It had several acres of areca nut plantations. In front of the house there is a very beautiful garden with artificial falls, several types of flowering plants, and a variety of trees. Tens of colored birds come to the trees to eat some fruits or suck honey from the flowers.
The kiddos: Prabhanjan (5th standard) and Pranith (may be UKG) were great. My cousin Manu joined us from Sagar. Santosh, Manu, Prabhanjan, Pranith, and myself played dabba-dubbi, a game where there are two teams and members of one team aims and throws a soft sponge ball to hit members of another team and it goes on and on. Team work, hitting, running, passing, and hitting again – it was a wonderful experience and shit tiring. My feet started paining after running a lot. We could not continue it in the late evening because of less light and slowly the day came to an end. The kiddos had to go to their school on weekdays. When the kiddos were away, we three of us played cricket in the backyard. I played cricket after so many years and it was a refreshing experience. Every time I wanted to hit a 6 due to over-enthusiasm, I used to get out by being caught or hitting a ball outside the restricted boundaries. But it was fun. :) I am happy that I spent some quality time with kiddos, Santosh, Manu, and my elders.
I returned to Bengaluru on probably June 17th. I prepared again for my IISc presentation on 19th. On 18th night my father dropped me to Shobhakka’s house. I talked to Shobhakka, Bhaava, and their son Shashi that night. I explained Bhaava about my plans for creating the greatest educational company of India and he gave a very constructive criticism that the idea is good but again it would be a revolution if it comes through the syllabus or if the government forces the students to also learn from the company’s videos. That was an amazing point I had not thought of. I still need to give it some deep thinking. Meddling with Indian government takes minimum 1000 Indian years (1 Indian year >>> 1 Earth year). That night I think I also talked to Shashi about education in general and higher education in particular. The next day, Bhaava and Shashi went to work. I showed Shobhakka several videos I had recorded from the villages. Then we both left to a relative’s naming ceremony function, had lunch there and then Shobhakka dropped me to IISc.
Rezaul (my God-adviser) and myself had developed an algorithm to automatically discover other algorithms. Given an iterative algorithm for a dynamic programming problem, our algorithm, we call Autogen, automatically discovers a superfast recursive algorithm. Probably this was the first time an algorithm to automatically discover non-trivial algorithms was developed and I was too excited on this algorithm, which I consider the greatest work of my PhD. This was the first time I was giving a presentation on Autogen elsewhere. Hence I had prepared a lot for creating a rocking presentation. From 2:30 to 3:00 pm I met a student and talked to him, from 3:00-4:00 pm I met R Govindarajan, the director and talked to him about my research and he gave explained me briefly about the department and their research. At exact 4:00 pm I was taken to the seminar hall where I had to give my presentation. I had all necessary equipments to present and there were around 10-12 people (in research presentations, 10 is a pretty good number :)), majorly students. I felt proud.
When I looked at the clock on the wall, it showed 5 pm and I realized that I had completed my presentation, in my opinion, flawlessly. :) In a blink of an eye, I had started and ended and it was exact 1 hour. I was damn cool during the whole talk and it was a piece of cake for me to give that talk (but I had fucked myself for several weeks in creating that presentation anyway). I felt more confident in myself. I think more than 8 questions were asked and I did not know the answer to one of them because the question was based on the implementation details and I was not involved in implementation (my work was majorly in developing the algorithm and extending it). Apart from that, I believe, everything went fine. Thus, one extra line got added to my CV.
The next day, my father took me to three or four relatives’ houses. The next day my parents took deep interest in packing things and wanting me to take some food items from India which I resisted. My father planned all food items that I will need such as rasam powder, masala powder etc and packed them. I packed all my luggages and was ready to leave India on June 21, 2015. Throughout my stay in India, my mom and a few of my relatives insisted me to look for girls and get married. My mom was sad that I did not care to respond to anything related to marriage. My parents dropped me to airport. My mom cried a bit. Before leaving, I told my parents that I had absolutely no interest in marriage and told them the reason too.
Thus, my India trip came to an end. I am infinitely indebted to India for having taught me the greatness of simplicity, teaching, and love. Love you, India. :)